My first visit to Banja Luka Gimnazija was another eye-opening visit that reinforced for me the importance of educational exchanges. For the first time in recent history, we have an American high school student studying with the other students at the Gimnazija. I thank Nick Frazer for choosing to come to BiH (from the state of Maine) and to spend a year studying in Banja Luka, and I am sure he will be an outstanding ambassador of the U.S. in Banja Luka. I was particularly pleased that the RS Minister of Education Anton Kasipovic was able to join me at the Gimnazija for a meeting with several students and teachers. I am also thankful to Zoran Pejasinovic, Principal of the Gimnazija, who will be going on an official visit to the U.S. to get a firsthand look at the U.S. education system. But that is not all in terms of our cooperation with educators in BiH. We now have Kammi Sheeler, a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant sponsored by the U.S. Embassy, working with the Pedagogical Institute in Banja Luka to help improve the region’s English language.
Regardless of where we are in BiH, I have noticed that all students want educational opportunities and the chance to learn English. I am always asked by them what it takes and how one goes about studying in the U.S. I stress that the U.S. is open to BiH students, and I personally want more BiH students to study in America. Diversity makes American richer, and the diversity of experience that the students will bring back here will give this country the tools it needs to become more prosperous and a better place to live for all its people.
|Ambassador Moon and Nick Frazer at Banja Luka Gimnazija|